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October 4, 2012

The Comics Console: Resident Evil 6 Review

Remember when Resident Evil use to be a survival horror game? Or when it was scary? If you don’t, it’s okay; it just means I’m old. But yes, once upon a time, I loved the RE series for the terrors that lurked around every crappy camera angled corner. Eventually, I learned to love it for its mixture of horror combined with great action. But for the first time, Resident Evil has taught me how to be really frustrated and hateful.

Resident Evil 6

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: Oct. 2, 2012
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3

Just like Resident Evil 5, RE6 has a heavy focus on third-person-shooting, and with the long begged for addition of actually being able to move while discharging your weapon, the shooting aspect of the gameplay has never been more satisfying. That is until you begin to discover the second largest aspect of the gameplay: quick button pressing. Be it borrowing Steve Austin’s thumbs for insane stick cranking, mashing different combinations of triggers and face buttons, or simply pressing A or X so that your character can merely drop down two feet to the next platform, you’re not getting through this game without mastering RE’s art of button mashing kung-fu. The problem with these “action buttons” is that they’re everywhere and you encounter them often. So much so that it’s easy to be shaken out of your immersion of Capcom’s so enchantingly creepy environments.

Just like previous games, a cutscene ensures no safety from certain doom with — yes, you guessed it — more action buttons. The visuals and cinematics are absolutely amazing in this game. To the point where all my button mashing and zombie headshots feel like I’m getting in the way of this amazing action movie. The new monsters and creatures you discover in the game are well designed and look freakishly great, but the pacing leaves you all too ready to take on these threats, and never spends time building any tension or creating great scares.

The inventory management has been overhauled for your character to hold more items, but it hasn’t been simplified. It’s a whole new beast that long time RE fans will have to get use to. The new upgrade system, however, is a dream, and the newest change to the series I welcomed the most. Instead of purchasing several different upgrades for several different weapons, players will purchase three levels of upgrades for all firearms. And special attributes like increased item droppage, or droppage of specific ammo for your favorite weapon can be bought and equipped to your character.

With all the evolution we’ve seen in RE6 compared to the last game, one thing that still remains the same is the boss battles. These were without a doubt my least favorite contributions to the game. What should be a test of your skills accumulated from the start of the campaign, is nothing more than the same boring repetition we’ve seen from Capcom for years. The formula is a simple one: shoot the obvious weak spot, complete a series of action buttons, and repeat for three or more scenes. There is zero skill involved, and in some cases, zero challenge.

The big buzz around this game is its three separate campaigns, each one separately revolving around series veterans Leon S. Kennedy, Chris Redfield, and new comer Jake Muller (and an unlockable fourth campaign featuring Ada Wong). Each story runs about six to eight hours and offers something slightly unique. Traveling with Leon takes you closest to the RE spirit, Chris’s is more military style action, and Jake’s…well, it has the most action buttons to press. The intertwining narratives provide a decent enough mystery that longtime fans of the series can really enjoy, but new players will have to pay close attention to really find something in these characters to care about.

If you dig the gameplay enough, then Mercenaries mode is absolutely worth a go. Online, you can drop in and out of campaigns or Mercs mode, or even take on the role of one of the C-Virus infected and hunt for some human flesh.

There were a few touches throughout the game put in for pure cinematic aesthetics that were annoying, like random wrong-place-wrong-time deaths where a train or ambulance would suddenly be careening at you that you’ll just have to look out for the next time, or the game’s camera shifting to something happening in the environment that doesn’t care if you’re doing something more important, but there were also things RE really did right. The A.I. has never been better, and the beautiful presentation, sound, and great cast of voice actors are of the highest quality you’ll find in the industry today.

Resident Evil 6 tries to be more of a big budget action thriller than it does a zombie shooting game, but it’s not intrusive enough to deter fans of this style game from playing. It’s a far from perfect experience, but still worth picking up if you love the genre.

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Andrew Hurst



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